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NAHL announces Combat Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week

November 5, 2012

The NAHL Divisional Stars of the Week (from top left to bottom right): Jordan Stejskal, Jared Van Wormer, Hayden Stewart and Brian Williams.

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending November 4, 2012.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2012-13 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions as nominated by their respective teams.

Central Division Star of the Week: Jordan Stejskal, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard
Brookings Blizzard defenseman Jordan Stejskal, 19, is riding a hot streak, which continued this past weekend in a weekend series at Aberdeen.  The native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, was able to chime in for four assists in two games as Brookings split a weekend set with Aberdeen.  On Thursday, Stejskal (6’2/205) recorded assists on both Brookings goals in a close 3-2 loss.  On Friday, he again recorded a pair of assists, this time on the first two goals of the game, as Brookings beat Aberdeen, 5-1.  Stejskal was also a +3 during the weekend and is currently riding a three-game multi-point streak.  His +6 mark this season ranks third on the team and six of his seven assists this season have come in his last three games.  “Jordan is a player that really has come into his own and played very well for us lately,” said Brookings head coach Cory Laylin.  “He makes good and smart passes, he makes good decisions with the puck and always seems to provide his teammates with a good breakout pass that gets our offense going.”

2nd Star: Jake O’Borsky, forward, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Hunter Anderson, forward, Coulee Region Chill - Travis Maxwell, defenseman, Minot Minotauros – John Simonson, forward, Austin Bruins – Thomas Williams, forward, Brookings Blizzard.

North Division Star of the Week: Jared Van Wormer, forward, Soo Eagles
Of the five goals that the Soo Eagles scored over the weekend in their road sweep of the Janesville Jets, forward Jared Van Wormer, 20, had a point in four of them.  The native of Traverse City, Michigan, scored two goals (including a game-winner) and added two assists as the Eagles swept the Jets to remain a point out of 1st place in the North Division.  On Friday, Van Wormer (6’0/195) had the lone goal, which came in the 3rd period, in a 1-0 win against the Jets.  A night later, Van Wormer added Soo’s first goal and then assisted on two others as the Eagles completed the weekend sweep with a 4-1 win.  Van Wormer not only leads the Eagles in scoring this season with 24 points, but he is leading the NAHL in assists to date with 18 and is tied for 2nd in scoring.  “Jared knows how to score big goals and create offense because he works hard, goes to the net and does little things,” said Eagles head coach Bruno Bragagnolo.  “This past weekend, he played very well shorthanded.  Jared plays inspired hockey and is one of the hardest working players I have had in my time coaching.”

2nd Star: Ryan Atkinson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brett D’Andrea, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Josh Dangel, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Mike Fazio, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Easton Powers, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Eric Rivard, forward, Soo Eagles – Matt Wurst, defenseman, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.

South Division Star of the Week: Hayden Stewart, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays
It is no coincidence that the Corpus Christi IceRays have gone 3-0-1 in their last four games (all in Alaska) and that newly acquired goaltender Hayden Stewart, 18, has been in goal for all four or those games.  The native of Rockford, Illinois, had his best NAHL weekend to date as the IceRays swept the Kenai River Brown Bears in a weekend road series to remain in 4th place in the NAHL’s South Division.  Stewart (6’2/184) stopped a combined 90 of 94 shots during the weekend, good for a 95.7% save percentage, and allowed four goals in the two games.  In Friday’s 3-2 win, he made 47 saves and in Saturday’s 3-2 win, he made 43 saves.  Kenai River went 0 for 8 in their power play chances thanks in large part to some great saves from Stewart, who now appears to be the missing piece of the goaltending puzzle the IceRays have been looking for.  “It was noticeable right away that Hayden is very calm under pressure,” said IceRays head coach Justin Quenneville.  “He has been the big factor for us the last four games and they haven’t been easy places to play.  He plays with a lot of poise.  He is big and covers a lot of net, but he is also very technically sound.” 

2nd Star: Sami Salminen, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Andrew, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Gage Christianson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Scott Conway, forward, Texas Tornado – Geoff Fortman, defenseman, Amarillo Bulls – Sean Gaffney, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Anthony Olguin, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Matt Volonnino, forward, Odessa Jackalopes.

West Division Star of the Week: Brian Williams, forward, Wenatchee Wild
The Wenatchee Wild didn’t need much offense in the weekend home sweep of the Bismarck Bobcats, as they scored just four goals in the two wins.  However, when they did score, 16-year-old forward Brian Williams was making himself a part of it.  The forward from San Diego, California, who was playing in just his second set of weekend games with the Wild, registered a point in three of the four total goals over the weekend, as the Wild increased their lead in the West Division to three points.  On Friday, Williams (5’10/170) scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 shutout win over the Bobcats.  On Saturday night, he recorded two assists, including setting up teammate Dylan Abood for the game-winning goal as Wenatchee defeated Bismarck 3-2 in overtime.  The three points over the weekend were Williams’ first career NAHL points.  “Brian has a lot of potential and skill for a player that is just 16-years-old,” said Wild head coach Bliss Littler.  “He has fit in nicely with the team so far and this past weekend was a great indicator of how he was able to generate offense and really showcase his talent.”

2nd Star: Devin Loe, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Aldridge, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Brossoit, forward, Fresno Monsters – Robert Nichols, goaltender, Wenatchee Wild – Daniel Rosse, forward, Fresno Monsters.

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